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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Ukraine’s Bond Restructuring: Surgery, Conspiracy, and Campaign

by | April 17th, 2015 | 06:03 pm

Debt restructuring is the second largest source of outside financing for Ukraine’s new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program [pdf]. The Fund itself brings $17.5 billion over four years; $9.6 billion comes from governments and other multilaterals (including Europe, the United States, and most recently, China), leaving $15.3 billion for the "debt operation." The jargon makes […]

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Russia’s Bond: It’s Official! (… and Private … and Anything Else It Wants to Be …)

by | April 17th, 2015 | 05:53 pm

Ukraine’s bond restructuring talks are in high gear, and, as ever, Russia is the trouble du jour. Not only is it threatening to hold out in the bond deal and take Ukraine to arbitration, Russia also seems poised to block International Monetary Fund (IMF) disbursements to Ukraine using an arcane Fund policy on "lending into […]

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Diversity among Advanced Economies in Rebounding from Crisis

by and Jan Zilinsky | April 15th, 2015 | 04:35 pm

Newly released projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its World Economic Outlook highlight the diversity of experiences among advanced economies in rebounding from the crisis. Although most economies (including all economies shown in this blog post) are projected to return to positive growth this year and the next, differences in GDP levels and […]

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Too Much Untapped Potential to Buy into the Secular Stagnation Argument

by | April 10th, 2015 | 10:34 am

Ben Bernanke has joined Lawrence Summers in debating whether the US and other major world economies are in a period of secular stagnation, where a chronic shortfall in demand is causing and will continue to cause low growth, low inflation, and low interest rates. In the short video below, four Peterson Institute experts pointedly discuss […]

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Misinterpretations of New Data on International Reserves

by | April 7th, 2015 | 11:30 am

The posting by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the latest data on the currency composition of international reserves (COFER) as of the end of 2014 brought some overheated reactions by investment banks and the media. J.P. Morgan, for example, focused on what it said was the euro allocation hitting the lowest level since 2002 […]

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Eleven Negative Surprises in the Euro Area

by | April 6th, 2015 | 01:57 pm

In 11 cases, the European Economic Forecasts from February 2014 had anticipated higher growth rates for euro area members than actually materialized. Although last year’s GDP data is still either estimated or provisional for five euro area economies (Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, Spain, and the Netherlands), several surprises stand out: Italy, Austria, and Latvia all failed […]

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Greece’s Damaging Impasse

by | April 6th, 2015 | 10:00 am

Since the elections in Greece were announced last fall, and especially after the installation of the Syriza-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Greek saga has developed along expected lines. The incipient recovery that Greece was experiencing last year has ground to a halt and turned into what is very likely a new recession. […]

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PIIE Chart: Are We Dissatisfied More Than Before?

by | April 2nd, 2015 | 03:23 pm

Last year and early 2015 are fixed in many people’s minds as the “year of protest.” But are citizens around the world really increasingly frustrated with the direction their country is taking? We combined data from 166 surveys in 24 countries, and found that on average the share of people who say they are satisfied […]

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When Should the IMF Make Exceptions? Part II

by | April 1st, 2015 | 12:15 pm

The current debate over the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) exceptional access policy centers on a precedent that was establish in 2010 with respect to Greece. In May of that year, when the Greek program was presented to the executive board, the IMF staff stated that it considered Greece’s debt to be sustainable, but the “significant […]

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When Should the IMF Make Exceptions? Part I

by | March 31st, 2015 | 04:42 pm

Ukraine won a reprieve from its economic and financial crisis on March 11, when the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $17.5 billion economic and financial support program, invoking the Fund’s policy of providing exceptional (abnormally large) access to IMF financial resources in extreme circumstances. The IMF program is the keystone […]

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